Posted on Dec 5, 2012 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
Orbo by Popular Playthings is a very original puzzle concept where you match 11 colored spheres to their respective outlined holes. It's a simple idea, but very fun to play with.

Out of the 12 holes, 11 are colored and one is left empty. This is to make sure that you have room to move the spheres around. The object is to move any given marble to a neighboring empty hole, and so on and so forth until the puzzle is completely scrambled. The next step is to have all the spheres return to their corresponding outlined hole.

One of the things that impressed me the most when I first picked it up was its size. By the pictures, I was expecting something much bigger, at least twice the size, but it's in fact about 7cm in diameter (2.8"), which is slightly bigger than a standard Rubik's Cube. Speaking of which, some describe the Orbo as the round version of popular Cube. Well, in my opinion, I think it's kind of an overstatement, because the two puzzles couldn't be any more different. Even the concept and mechanism is totally different.

(Click to Enlarge) - Scrambled
Enough of comparisons... The Orbo deserves its own identity, because there's nothing quite like it. The mechanism is simple, but effective: in the center there's some kind of foam that makes the plastic marbles snap into place. I don't know how this material will behave as you continuously play with it, but it's possible that'll lose its strength with time. Also, expect to have sore fingertips after playing with it for a while, because there's a bit of pressure required to move each sphere into place.

(Click to Enlarge)
I was expecting the puzzle to be a little more challenging, but after solving it within 5 minutes I realized that the method is just simple logic. There's no need for fancy algorithms or pre-learned movements, as intuition and trial and error will do just fine. Still, a very fun puzzle to have around and solve again from time to time.

Video: To have a better idea of how the puzzle works take a look at this video.

Closing Comments:

This small multi-colored ball stands out among many puzzles out there. Some may mistaken it for some child's toy at first, but the Orbo will sure get you hooked no matter what your age is. The low level of difficulty is also a key to please a wider market.

Availability: You can get your Orbo at Brilliant Puzzles for just $10 USD.


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